Jennifer Anselm

Date of Birth: June 2, 2002

Year in School: First year of university

Cost per Year:

Location:  Moshi, Tanzania

TOP   2022    2021    2020    2019    2018    2017    2016   2014    2013


​This is Jennifer Anselm, from the same orphanage in Tanzania as Jeni Joseph (there are 4, so this is Jeni 1, Jeni Joseph is Jeni 2). We’ll just call her Jeni A. Jeni A. has lived at the orphanage since it opened in 2009. She previously lived with her grandmother after the death of her parents from HIV related problems. Her grandmother was completely destitute and had to make a choice between her and her younger sister since she was not capable of caring for both. They do come to visit her at the orphanage. Jeni A. has consistently been at the top of her class (she has scored as high as first place in her class rankings), and is recognized by all the other children in the orphanage as their leader. She has made herself personally in charge of all her fellow first graders. The teachers  trust her to be the delivery person with correspondence for the orphanage administrators, and to distribute things like pencils and rulers because she is always fair and thorough. Jeni A. currently wants to be a doctor to help children in similar situations as her and her “family” at the orphanage.

At the end of the 2012 school year, Jeni ranked 31 out of 104, with a high B average. Congratulations, Jeni! We also received a wonderful Christmas letter from Jeni.


July and August 2022

We have so much news about Jeni! She is doing so well in university, even though there have been some challenges. She’s homesick and the weather in Mbeya is not to her liking (too cold sometimes!). Her computer was stolen, probably by her roommate (she’s getting out of that situation soon). And the classes are hard! But she loves it, she’s doing really well, and she has some wonderful friends. She is in a 4 year program, so she has 3.5 left to go. In her most recent grade report for the end of her first semester, she received all B and B+ marks. We are impressed, but she was not happy with that and “hopes to turn all my B and B+ into As.” We understand that grades are important, but we’re really impressed with those grades. She’s in the university two years before she normally would be, is living far away from home and friends, and is studying a very hard subject!

Jeni is studying engineering, and she’ll have to decide on a focus at some point soon. She talks about biomedical engineering, and she’s taking classes right now in computer and electrical engineering. For now she is really enjoying her classes. In a letter she sent to Christa at the beginning of the year, she wrote (in very improved English!):

For this time I have started my studies, and am so happy to study Biomedical Engineering. This is my second week to attend classes and teachers are seems to be hardworking.

I live in school campus. There are dormitories to some of students. I meet some new friends that I use to share with them the same room. I send for you the picture of my roommate including me.

I meet my friend that I studied with her in the same secondary school, and we are in the same course of Biomedical Engineering her name is Virginia, and I meet with someone like my brother that he helped me during registration period and orientation of knowing University. His name is Given.

(I turns out that Jeni’s roommate wasn’t so great, and Shannon and Greg are working to get her moved, but she needs to stay on campus until autumn. That’s coming soon, so hopefully there will be some good news in a few months.)

We received some wonderful photos of Jeni, her university, her friends, and her classes. She is just thriving, and it is still hard to equate this lovely young woman with the little girl we got to know more than a decade ago. We’re still waiting for her to send us her post-secondary scholarship application, but we aren’t worried. We’ll support her as long as we need to!







September 2021

Jeni has received an extraordinary offer. She did so well in her classes and on her Form 4 exam that she was offered the chance to go straight to the university. Although Greg and Shannon were a little concerned that she is too young to do this, Jeni carefully explained why she wants to do this.

Jeni wants to study engineering, and there is no national standard for the Form 5 and 6 curriculum that includes physics, and the other classes she needs to go into engineering. In fact, the quality of Form 5 and Form 6 education is so poor that there are many students who are graduating from Form 6 with terrific grades, and not getting into university. So Jeni will be starting university in October!

She will be attending the university in Mbeya, near the border with Zambia. Although Greg and Shannon feel that her engineering education might not qualify her to pass exams to work in other countries, they are confident that she can take some remedial courses to catch up if needed.

Jeni will be applying for a post-secondary scholarship from ONE, so we will be staying in touch with her as she moves forward.



January 2021

Jeni received the results of her Form 4 exam. She scored high enough to be in Division One, the top 1% of all students in Tanzania! We are so proud of her. She will be able to take any number of paths at this point. She is currently taking “bridge” classes to keep her busy over the next few months while she prepares to start her next program. She will enter Form 5, but we will not know where she will be studying for a few months yet. At that point, she will also need to make a decision about the direction she wishes to go, so we will find out about that later this year.


February 2020

Our contact Shannon visited Tanzania early in the month and was able to visit with all of our girls, who have just entered Form 4. This is a particularly important year. At the end of the year, all the students will take a national exam to see if they move on to Forms 5 and 6. Many, many students do not, which means they are done with their education, and have to find work that will accept them with only four years of secondary study. We have high hopes for Jeni, as she is doing really well in school, and working hard. She sent us a wonderful card, which we have included here.


October 2019

This year, Jeni has been doing well at school. She was elected class president and is testing in the highest division in school (Division 1). Congratulations, Jeni!


December 2018

Jeni turned 16 this year, and she is really growing into an amazing young woman. She had a little trouble when high school started, as she was getting very interested in boys, and was neglecting her studies a bit. But she is more than on track at this point! She received her Form 2 exam results and she got the highest scores of all the students, which places her squarely in Division 1, the highest division! This will open up so many opportunities to her, and we’re really excited for her.

We received some photos from Shannon’s most recent visit, and it’s really easy to see what a beautiful woman Jeni is becoming. We’ve also included her letter from partway through the year.

January 2018

Shannon and Greg went to Tanzania in January. It was Greg’s first time back in more than a year, and he says all the girls are growing up so fast. They are all lovely young women now. He sent a couple of pictures of Jeni to us, and we can hardly believe how grown up and beautiful she looks. There is hardly a hint of the little girl we met even three years ago. She is doing well in school and thriving, which we are happy to hear.


March 2017

Shannon finally made it back to Tanzania to visit the girls, and we are so delighted to hear her news. She says that both Jeni A. and Jeni Joseph love being at St. Theresa’s in Mwanga. Jennifer says that her teachers call her the class president. She will almost certainly run in future years if she stays at that school and follows this mindset. Academically, their teachers report good progress, and we will wait to see what the midterm report shows in a couple months.
Shannon sent us a couple pictures of the girls. They are so beautiful, and it is so wonderful to see them looking happy.


December 2016

We have received some wonderful news from Tanzania. After a lot of upheaval at the orphanage, all our girls have been removed from that situation, and are living in different places in town. Some are living with teachers, some with their families again, and some at a hostel that our friends Greg and Shannon are running. The difference in the students’ performance in school has been stark: they are all doing so much better, and are so happy. It is a very good thing to hear!

Jeni A. passed her exam to enter Form 1 (like 8th grade in the U.S., but considered secondary school). She got really good results, enough to enter the best school around, but our contacts Greg and Shannon told us that they prefer her to go to an associated school, St. Theresa’s. They feel it will provide her more structure, and we trust their thoughts on this. St. Theresa’s is a boarding school in Mwanza, which is about 90 minutes from Moshi, so Jeni will be living there.

For her year end letter, we asked her to tell us what talent or skill or gift she has that she can offer to the world. Here is her letter to us. She says that her skill is to be an artist and that she’d like to teach it to others. We hope she can do that, and we wish her the best of luck in school next year.  We have no doubt she will do very well!

May 2016

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Jennifer. Our contacts did send us some letters last year, but apparently they got lost in the mail, which is very sad. We hear that things are still a bit hard at the orphanage, because of the upheaval in leadership. But Jeni is striving ahead, and doing OK in school We received a letter from her in May, and we’ve attached it here for you to see. We had asked about challenges that they have in school, as well as a few other things. We hope you enjoy it!


December 2014

It was a delight to finally meet Jennifer during my visit in December of 2014. Jeni is tall and beautiful, and very sweet. According to Greg, she “always does the right thing,” even if she gets grief for it, and she doesn’t always understand why other people don’t do the right thing. The other girls at the orphanage kind of see her as mom, so that is a double-edged sword for Jeni. They go to her when they need things, but also feel a bit separate from her. In our conversations, she said she wants to teach grades 4, 5, 6 and 7. She says they can pay attention and think, but are not as troublesome as the high schoolers. She is one of the originals at the orphanage, so she is also very tied into what is going on there.


New Letter From August, 2013

We received a wonderful letter from Jeni in August of 2013. Her English is getting better every day! You can click on the letter and enlarge it to full screen to read it clearly.

​Christmas Letter From 2013

Jeni A. sent a sweet letter to us for Christmas. We love her drawings!